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Behavior Behavior problems, suggestions, support. Please use this forum for all behavior related posts.

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  #1  
Old 05-24-1999, 02:23 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Rottie Temperament and Children

I just found out today that one of the gentlemen that I work with had a 10 month male Rottweiler that attacked his 5 yr. old daughter. She is in the hospital with multiple face lacerations. Seeing as how I own a 6 month old female and have a 2 yr. old son, I questioned him in detail regarding the incident. He said it was his wife's dog and she insisted the dog was a big baby. The dog was brought into the house as a puppy and never displayed aggressive behavior before. However, the dog was never "trained" or worked with formally as far as discipline. He told me his wife was mixing up the dog's food on the counter and the dog and his daughter were both standing there watching. The dog jumped up to the counter and his wife pushed the dog down. The next thing she knew, the dog had bitten her daughter in the face. My question is...What would prompt such behavior out of a dog raised with children? Does it sound like a food thing? Could it be related to the dogs history, such as parents temperment? Needless to say, the dog has been destoyed, but I am concerned because of my son and want to avoid this type of situation with my dog. I love my dog dearly and I consider her a big baby! She loves my son and snuggles with him on the couch whenever she can. Do I need to worry? I have mixed feelings regarding my dog now. Any suggestions from anyone with children and Rotts are needed badly!!!!
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  #2  
Old 05-24-1999, 03:24 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1998
Location: Unity, NH USA
Images: 62
My own rotts do this to each other especially if I come up to the fence and they all want my attention. Sounds like he was treating her like he would have another dog
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  #3  
Old 05-24-1999, 03:32 PM
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frontierotts

How do I prevent this from happening with my dog? Can it be prevented?
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  #4  
Old 05-24-1999, 04:05 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1998
Without enough background information, and based on the brief description of such tragic incident, I venture to say:

1. Obviously the dog was not obedience-control trained.

2. It seems like there was a lack of strong pack leadership (alpha role management)

3. Food guarding is a sign of dominance, which re-enforces point #2

This incident could have been prevented if the owner has gotten more involved in learning how to raise a Rottweiler. A breed that is very popular, but it is not for everybody... specilally, the unexperienced, the uncommitted, the "half-way" involved, the negligent, the "macho man", and other types. I am not saying that that was the type of owner of the Rottweiler in question in this case... it is just a general commentary.
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  #5  
Old 05-24-1999, 04:09 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1998
Location: Unity, NH USA
Images: 62
I agree with German (imagine that! ).
It is a dominance issue "if I can't have the food, you can't either"

Train your dog to the best of your ability so that he listens to your every command. Crate him if neccessary when you are making his food or he is eating to avoid child interference.

Train your child to respect your dog's personal space when eating or with toys.

------------------

Diane
Frontier Rottweilers & Shiba Inu
***spam***

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  #6  
Old 05-24-1999, 04:12 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
German,

I whole-heartedly agree! This couple did not invest much time in "working" with their dog. However, I am a "new" Rott owner. I have never had one before, but I researched the breed well before I purchased. I spend as much time as possible with teaching my dog "manners" and basic obedience. My concern is my son. Am I doing enough to prevent this type of incident in my house?
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  #7  
Old 05-24-1999, 04:17 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
P.S.

We started teaching our son respect for a dog's space as soon as he was able to crawl. He is NEVER allowed to lay on, hit, pull ears or tail, or engage in inappropriate behavior with or around our dog. At this point, I don't even like him to run around her because she is inclined to "chase" and "catch".
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  #8  
Old 05-24-1999, 05:01 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1998
Kodimom,
Get yourself a good book about raising and training Rottweilers. Read it thoroughly and get involved in your dog's proper upbringing. It will pay-off ten-fold your "investment".

It is important to establish leadership. The pack mentality of the dog is naturally inherited. The dog needs to be told how to do it, what to do, when to do it, and so forth. Your dog will be happier and more secured knowing the pack leader is teaching him how to go along with life's routines.

Dominance in a dog should not never be tolerated and corrected as soon as early signs appear. Sadly enough, food guarding is allowed by some dog owners in the belief that such is a sign of toughness (?!). I have seen in dismay dog owners proudly showing me how their pups get mad at them and growl when they get close to their food bowl and laugh about it! "How cute" (?!). This ignorant dog owner's regular comment is something to the sort: "This little s.o.b. is gonna be a tough guard dog!!"... Yeah right! What is going to happen is the dog is going to grow-up dominant and indepedent. Thus, with an unpredictable challenging behavior around humans (particularly children, "easy prey" on the dog's eyes).

The whole key to all this, is to really get involved in your dog's training to greatly diminish any potential behavioral problems. I am glad you are teaching your kid how inter-act with your dog, and viceversa. Don't forget to teach your kid never to wake-up the dog when he is asleep. It may trigger an aggressive response to the mind-numb activity of the dog. I recommend very close supervision whenever a big dog is inter-acting with kids. Prevention is the best cure. Keep particiapting in this group. We all learn a lot!

Diane,
Are you becoming "soft" with me? (JUST KIDDING!!)
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  #9  
Old 05-24-1999, 07:10 PM
hks hks is offline
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Join Date: Feb 1999
I also agree with German. The answer is in your question - "the dog was never "trained" or worked with formally as far as discipline". Yikes! It breaks my heart to hear of a dog punished for its ownwer's mistakes. If you work with your own dog, you can avoid such a tragedy. Your dog is a dog (first), and it is also a Rottweiler. One of my most helpful training books said be consistent, firm and fair, as the dam is with her pups. If the behavior is unacceptable, don't tolerate it, period. People with small dogs or "family dogs" whatever the breed, often tolerate behavior which leads to other things. Read books about Rotts, and about training them. The advice that you get here, is a great source. In the sad incident you described, the child came between the dog and its food (or so the dog thought). Proper training for the dog, and preventing the situation in the first place is a great start. I hope your story has a happy ending! Please let us know!

------------------
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  #10  
Old 05-24-1999, 07:20 PM
hks hks is offline
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Join Date: Feb 1999
I thought of one more thing. You asked how you could prevent that from happening to your son, and asked if you are doing enough. (I'm not sure where you live, or if you have access to any Rottweiler trainers in your area.) Having an experienced person watch you work with your dog, and having the trainer work with the dog might give you some peace of mind, or point you toward some things to work on. If you have a dog who minds your commands in a variety of situations, you're most of the way there. Good Luck!
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  #11  
Old 05-24-1999, 09:25 PM
Don Don is offline
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Wow, I must say that sometimes I have doubts about owning a Rottweiler. We are training our dog and spend a lot of time with her making her behave, etc.
But, you just wonder, you keep hearing these awful stories. A rottweiler can be like a loaded gun it seems.
I've trained German Shepherds in Schutzhund a little, have had other large dogs and mixed breeds.
This is my first purebred Rottweiler. She is a handful! She is 10 months old and I would say an alpha dog. We got her at 8 months from a rescue.
Do we all have to keep a constant eye on our Rotts because none of us really knows for sure if or when one of them might go off on someone innocent child?
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  #12  
Old 05-24-1999, 09:27 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1998
Thank you so much hks.

I forgot to mention, I have two kids (a girl 12 and a boy 10) with Rottweilers always around. I never allowed none of my dogs, ever, to develop dominant "attitude" problems... and they all have been protection and security trained! How they get along with my kids? JUST GREAT! They obey my kids' commands, and they surely know I am the pack leader.
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  #13  
Old 05-25-1999, 01:32 AM
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Join Date: Oct 1998
I agree in general with what every one has had to say. However, I would like to point out something from the first post. "...the wife had pushed the dog down. The next thing she knew the dog had bitten the girl in the face." I am not defending the dog. I would just like for people to understand the situation from the dog perspective.
1. Preparing food in front of the dog builds drive. The dog gets excited.
2. The dog is pushed. I don't like to be pushed. If I am about to eat and someone pushes me, look out!
3. We don't know what the child was doing it is possible that she seeing the mother push the dog also pushed or swatted the dog. Now I am about to eat, a guy pushes me that I am intimidated by, and right afterwards a little guy does the same. I might not take on the big bad guy but I sure will jump the little guy.

These circumstances were to give you an ideal of how and why some bites occur.

1. Train you dog. It would me much better to tell the dog to "down" rather than to push. Dog have self respect they don't like to be pushed.

2. Train your children not to challenge (push, stare, kick, ect...) the dog.

3. Dont perpare or give food to the dog around children or other pets.
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  #14  
Old 05-25-1999, 07:28 AM
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Join Date: Dec 1998
Location: dallas, texas
At our rescue we try to discourage people with toddlers from adopting large dogs. There are many reasons for this, but I consider fear to be the primary reason, that is, it can be dangerous when people begin to fear the dog. If you are concerned, you should find your dog another home. Let's be blunt, for a two-year-old an altercation with a Rottweiler can be a death sentence.

Now, after considering all the issues, some people live happily ever after with the big dogs. I have no doubt these people followed the training advice as given in the previous posting. (Also, these are mixed breeds, and some people on the board think you can predict your pure bred dogs temperment by knowing her parents.)

I would say if you are nervous, so is the dog. It has been my experience that a nervous dog is much more likely to bite.

Now, there is obviously a difference between reasonable concern and fear. If you feel any fear now, consider that your dog, as she grows, may be more assertative in her attempts to secure her place in the pack. If your dog thinks of the child as a peer, or lower in the pack, the dog may correct the child in a transgression by biting - just as the dog would do to a litter mate.

On the other hand, if you do not fear your dog but are only worried about the stories, I can tell you that I have NEVER heard of or seen a well treated dog "turn" on its owner.
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  #15  
Old 05-25-1999, 08:31 AM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Thank you everyone for the great responses! I am definately going to take my dog to a trainer in addition to our training sessions at home. In response to Vicky Magnus' comments: I am not afraid of my dog. On the contrary, up to this point, I have felt very secure with her around my son. However, I do not want to get "too comfortable" (Is that possible?) I just want to make sure that I don't overlook anything that may trigger an incident, even though our Rott seems at this point not to have a dominant nature. I guess when it comes to my son, I can never be "too" careful. Kodi seems to be very "concerned" about my son to the point of "checking" on him when she hears him make a sound at night and even trying to sleep under his crib kind of "guarding" him at night (which is not allowed). She likes to try to snuggle up next to him on the couch when he gets his pillows and blankets out and up until the incident with the fellow that I work with, I had not really been concerned about an "attack" on my son. I guess I just needed some reassurance that I am doing the right things to keep harmony between two very loved individuals in my household - my son first, then my dog.
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